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Suspected Islamist Militants Kill Wife of Police Officer in Bangladesh

  • VOA News

Suspected Islamist militants have killed the wife of a senior antiterror police official in Bangladesh.

Authorities said three men riding on a motorcycle stabbed and shot Mahmuda Akter Sunday morning as she was dropping off her son at a school bus stop in the port city of Chittagong.

Akter is the wife of Babul Akter, who was recently promoted to superintendent of police in Dhaka, the capital, after serving as the lead investigator into a wave of brutal killings that have targeted secular and progressive bloggers, writers and activists.

The Islamic State group and an al-Qaida faction have claimed credit for some of the attacks, but Bangladesh authorities continue to insist there are no foreign terror groups operating in the country. Instead, officials have blamed local militants or the political opposition.

Police have published names and photos of at least six Islamist militants police say were directly involved in most of the killings.

Police say the men are members of Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a banned local hard-line Islamist group. They also announced rewards of nearly $23,000 for information about the suspects.

Suspects identities

A police notice published recently identified two men, identified as Selim and Shoriful, as ABT militants who played a direct role in several killings. Police said Shoriful had been seen in security camera video around the spot where one of the victims was killed.

The government's critics said the police do not seem to be seriously investigating the killings, which they say has led to a culture of impunity -- and more attacks.

Rights groups have also been critical of the pace of investigations.

In April, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appeared at a political rally for her Awami League party and once again accused the political opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance, for the series of attacks. She argued the attacks are being carried out to destabilize the country.

Members of the opposition have denied the charge.